The five paid members of Michele Bachmann's New Hampshire staff issued a statement this morning saying they decided to leave the campaign because they "no longer have faith in the national team."
News of the departure of Bachmann's local staffers first became public on Friday, leading to in which Bachmann and her national campaign staff denied knowledge of the exodus.
The statement issued this morning attempts to explain the circumstances surrounding the New Hampshire staff's exit.
"The team holds no ill will towards the candidate, but no longer feels relevant based on their poor relationship with the national team," the statement reads.
The statement goes on to say that the New Hampshire staffers felt "deceived," "left out of the loop," and "relegated to second-class citizens." It says the manner in which the national team treated the local staffers was "rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel," and New Hampshire citizens were dealt with in a similar fashion.
At times, the local operatives said they went weeks with little or no contact with the national team, and their requests were "repeatedly ignored."
The statement says the New Hampshire team's lack of faith in Bachmann's national campaign had been building since June, when the candidate's strong debate performance boosted her to second in two polls of New Hampshire voters, behind only Mitt Romney. In the three months that followed, Bachmann did not return to New Hampshire.
The statement says that during Bachmann's visit to New Hampshire surrounding the Oct. 11 Dartmouth debate, "several incidents happened" that concerned some members of the New Hampshire campaign staff.
"Those incidents will remain private, but they were serious enough for some members to depart the campaign," the statement reads.
The statement says that Jeff Chidester, Bachmann's New Hampshire campaign manager, sent an email to someone connected to the campaign on Oct. 13 announcing that he was "done" and would no longer stay with the team.
The statement says other members of the New Hampshire team tried to contact a senior member of the national team the next day, expressing a possible desire to remain with the campaign if "a few matters" could be cleared up. But the senior national staffer never got back to them.
"The staffers took this as a signal that the national team did not want to engage in a conversation that might have resulted in the staffers remaining with the campaign," the statement says. "The staffers no longer wish to be part of the campaign."
The issue of pay is also referenced in the statement. The five local staffers in question were contract employees until Sept. 11, and were "off payroll" after that due to financial concerns with the campaign, the statement says. Some New Hampshire campaign members – though not Chidester – went back on the payroll for Bachmann's latest New Hampshire trip, but none of them received any notification to continue employment.
"Recent statements by some members of the national team regarding the employment status of Team-NH were dishonest and belittling, but indicative of the larger problems that led to Team-NH's departure," the statement adds.